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Longtime druggist, Erv Ide, dies

Local business owners drank morning coffee at Ide's store
by: Contributed photo, Erv Ide

In the days when Gresham had two of everything - two doctors, two dentists, two lawyers - Erwin 'Erv' Ide, who died Saturday, March 15, at the age of 80, was one of two druggists.

A funeral service for Ide, who helped to found a popular singing group called the Meistersingers, will be at 1 p.m. Friday, March 21, at Trinity Lutheran Church, where he sang in the choir. The church is at 507 W. Powell Blvd. Viewing will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20, at Gresham Memorial Chapel, 257 S.E. Roberts Ave.

Ide, and his wife, Doris, ran the kind of drug store where business owners gathered in the morning for coffee sipped from cups with their names on the outside. Those names were all men until politician Ruth McFarland broke the barrier, demanding a personalized cup of her own.

The Ides served up ice cream, cherry Cokes, penicillin, greeting cards and the latest news over a counter 23 stools long at their Roberts Avenue store. The two met at Gresham's other drug store, Gresham Rexall, where he served his internship and she, then Doris Swartwood, was a clerk and a soda jerk. They were married at Trinity Lutheran Church on Jan. 19, 1957, in the middle of a typical January ice storm called a 'Silver Thaw.'

A resident of Gresham since 1937, Erv Ide started at age 15 as a stock boy working until his retirement from Safeway's drug store in 1993.

He was born Sept. 18, 1927, in Miltona, Minn., to Albert and Louise (Reinemunde) Ide. His family moved to the Hillsview area when he was 10. He attended Hillsview grade school, graduated from Gresham High in 1945 and joined the Navy shortly thereafter.

Discharged in 1947, he went to Oregon State University, graduating from the School of Pharmacy in 1953.

He went to work for Don McBain in McBain's Pharmacy on Roberts Avenue, buying out McBain in 1965.

The store was a gathering place where as many as three employees worked behind the counter. Doris Ide worked with him for 18 years.

'He dispensed the drugs, and I handed them to customers,' she remembered.

In November 1983, Ide built a new store on Main Avenue. The site is now Wall Street Pizza. He and 15 family members trundled the entire soda fountain on dollies to the new site in the middle of the night. After suffering a heart attack in 1984, he closed the Main Avenue store in 1988 and joined Safeway pharmacy so he could enjoy a 40-hour week.

He would, he said then, miss having coffee with friends every day.

'It's been fun,' he said,'Every bit of it has been fun.'

For fun in 1968, Ide, Tom Pearce, Gene Fenske and Cliff Bennett, started a chorale group called the Meistersingers. Adding eight more singers, they performed in Gresham, Portland and throughout the Northwest for 16 years.

They recorded three albums and had a large following at local concerts. Ide was a member of Gresham Rotary for 20 years and a longtime member of Trinity Lutheran, where he taught Sunday school.

He is survived by his wife; daughters, Darlene Frashour and Janine Kirstein, both of Gresham; son, David Ide, of Gresham; sister, Trudy Case, of Gresham; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Private interment will be at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Gresham Memorial Chapel is handling arrangements.

The family suggests memorial gifts to Providence Hospice.